Denise Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, has been a nurse and a healthcare practitioner for over 35 years and an educator for more than 15 years. Dr. Foster is the founder and owner of the Hemp Haven Chesapeake, a vitamin and supplements store. She also founded and owns Empirical Cannabis in Chesapeake, VA, which provides patient and family education, consultation, and research services regarding medical cannabis. She has also worked as the Director of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, where she also served as a secretary.
In this episode, Dr. Foster talks about her background in the industry, the use of medical cannabis to treat different illnesses, and how her cannabis businesses help patients in the community. Just recently, the state of Virginia’s passed the recreational cannabis law that is expected to be implemented by 2024. However, Hemp Haven and Imperial Cannabis have been helping patients suffering from depression, insomnia, and other illnesses by providing education, consultation, and medical cannabis products.
The Situation In Chesapeake
Dr. Foster says they have been working with all different age groups and can’t exactly point out the most predominant group. “The most predominant group is repeating customers,” she says. People, including parents, have recognized the value of medical cannabis and are bringing their children to find treatment for different concerns such as anxiety and isolation, especially during the pandemic. She also says parents are open to using small doses to help their children with sleep and anxiety. All of this has been a result of her educational campaign over the last six months. Although she was never an anti-cannabis person, Dr. Foster says she saw cannabis being used as medicine while working as a nurse, but in academia, she taught her students that it was a drug of abuse. Just like any other American, she grew up knowing that cannabis was a drug of abuse. That’s what people are taught. But her mind changed when her friend told her about her son’s clinical use. She also advised Dr. Foster to research the plant. Foster took on the challenge, which made her understand the history behind cannabis and its use as medicine.
Becoming the “Cannabis Nurse”
Dr. Foster later got involved with the American Cannabis Nurses Association, where she served as the Board of Director member and eventually as secretary. She notes that the association was voted as the most trusted association, a streak that runs for 15 years. The association incorporates the holistic approach of mind, body, and spirit medicine. It also recognizes that cannabis touches on all of these. She has also worked with medical cannabis patients across the country. In the beginning, Dr. Forster says the patients didn’t have directions and were looking for answers and trust about what nurses can offer compared to doctors and budtenders. She, therefore, opened her cannabis dispensary because she was tired of waiting for the government to come through. She was also hired as a director of patient education and worked with medical cannabis dispensaries in Missouri. Nursing is a profession whose principles were founded by Florence Nightingale, a holistic practitioner who did not just think about the body but how noise and environment impact patients’ health and recovery. Dr. Foster believes nurses, therefore, have an obligation to look out at the communities, patients, and the population from that holistic approach. She advises nurses to follow the national nursing guidelines for medical marijuana that was published in 2018 by the National Council of State Boards.
What is Hemp Haven?
Dr. Foster opened Hemp Haven in Missouri in 2019, where medical cannabis and now recreational cannabis have been in the midwest. Hemp Haven’s model is clinically based and applies research and an educational approach. She says they let patients come in and talk to them in a one-on-one situation so they can be guided appropriately using the available educational tools. She has also engaged the local newspaper and radio station that have agreed to work with her in promoting her education and research-based cannabis content to the locals. Dr. Foster says transitioning into three different careers, first from being a nurse for over 35 years to an educator for over 15 years, and business has been the main challenge. She says it was a steep learning curve, and she didn’t know how to set up taxes or run inventories. While the dispensary is growing significantly, more and more individuals start recognizing the benefits.
“Success is a feeling that you are comfortable with whom you are. That you have come to a place where you are in, and you can both be proud and yet still be motivated enough to look to the future.”
3 DANK Points
- More research can help remove the stigma about cannabis by providing evidence of its benefits.
- People are starting to truly recognize the benefits of medical cannabis.
- Every age group can welcome medical cannabis use into their life routine.
- Hemp Haven Website
- Hemp Haven on Facebook
- Denise Foster on Linkedin
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